Thursday, April 23, 2009

Drury Is Captain Clutch As Rangers Take 3-1 Lead

Rangers captain Chris Drury gives Blueshirts and their fans reason to celebrate, as his game-winning goal puts New York up 3-1 against Capitals. (Photo courtesy of NHL.com)

Throughout the season, since becoming the 25th player in his illustrious franchise's history to wear the letter "C" on his jersey, Chris Drury had been criticized for failing to produce in situations where he was needed most. Yet last night, the man that is known to some as "Captain Invisible" put the critics to rest, at least for the time being.

After missing the first game of the Rangers' best-of-seven series against Washington with a wrist injury that almost caused him to miss last night's fourth game, Drury delivered a performance that conjured memories of a former captain on Broadway, scoring the game-winning goal in the second period as the Blueshirts defeated the Capitals 2-1, setting up a potential series-clinching Game 5 tomorrow night in the nation's capital. "We should go in thinking we're down 3-1," said an ecstatic Drury after the game. "We need to be a desperate team." Teammate Brandon Dubinsky called Drury a "warrior" that "went out there and made a huge play."

The Rangers were anything but desperate last night, killing off all six of Washington's power plays during the game, not to mention another stellar performance from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who made 38 saves last night, now giving him a grand total of 142 for the series. "That's why they pay me the big bucks," quipped the netminder after another outing that demonstrated his status as the team's most valuable player this season.

Lundqvist may not have shut out the Caps as he did in Saturday's Game 2, but he has been nothing short of brilliant against Washington's high-powered offense led by Alexander Ovechkin, who picked up his first goal of the series in the third period last night, but has yet to advance past the first round of the playoffs in his career.

Two days after calling out his best players, head coach John Tortorella now has a reason to smile, and could be headed to the second round as early as tomorrow night, where the Boston Bruins would be waiting for him and the Rangers after sweeping Montreal to end their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup.

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